Recipe: Vegan Vanilla Birthday Cake

This is our time of year people…birthdays galore.  We definitely get our fill of sweets around now.  My 9-year-old requested a vanilla birthday cake with blue icing and candies. Here is what the result was, and I tried a new product that turned out to be interesting and a nice change from our traditional icing.  The cake and icing are homemade; see recipes below.  The star candies are from Whole Foods; no artificial or added sweeteners, preservatives, dyes, etc.

Vegan Vanilla Birthday Cake

Vegan Vanilla Birthday Cake

My go-to birthday cake recipes are from Jennifer McCann’s book, “Vegan Lunch Box”.  I slightly modified her recipe for fluffy white cupcakes.  This is a fabulous book, and I would highly recommend it even if you are not vegan.  There are wonderful kid-friendly recipes and ideas in this cookbook.

Vegan Vanilla Birthday Cake


  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 scant cups plain soymilk
  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place apple cider vinegar in liquid measuring cup and fill with soymilk to 1 1/2 cups.  Set aside to curdle.
  3. Add all ingredients together and beat until smooth in a stand mixer.  **I have also mixed by hand, and it turned out OK; you will just have to work harder to get out the lumps.
  4. Fill 2 greased & floured 9-inch cake pans and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes.  The cooking time varies with your oven, and you must diligently check them.  When a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake, they are finished cooking.  Accurate cooking time is key with this recipe to produce a moist cake.

For the icing, I ,mixed the following in a stand mixer:

  • 1 cup non-dairy butter or shortening of your choice
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
  • tad bit of blue food dye (I know, I know……..but birthdays are exceptions when the child requests “blue” icing)

I tried a new product from Whole Foods, and it was tasty.  It rendered the consistency a little different from traditional icing, so it made it difficult to spread, but otherwise it was fine.  It definitely tasted of coconut, but it added a nice flavor to the cake.  All the kids gave it a thumbs up.  A word about the icing color: I have used blueberries in the past to make icing blue, but the palm oil in this shortening produced a very yellow icing, so I wasn’t sure that the blueberries would do the trick.  Obviously, natural food is a better choice over food dye, but again, birthdays are exceptions!

Nutiva Shortening

Nutiva Shortening

Vegan Vanilla Birthday Cake

Vegan Vanilla Birthday Cake

Here are a few of the ingredients that I used:

Cake Ingredients

Cake Ingredients


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